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EtC: What did it entail to work as an anthropologist within the international response to Ebola? I went to Guinea with the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) and was part of the Communication Commission. Our mission was to set up so-called “Surveillance Committees” in local communities (often based on already existing local committees) whose aim is to facilitate communication and cooperation between communities and (international) health agencies. The Committees consist of traditional healers, religious leaders, traditional chiefs and representatives of community groups such as young people, the elderly and women. These people are accepted by the community and enjoy credibility. More specifically, I went to Macenta where I worked in a small strategic group with a Guinean sociologist and a local biologist who had expertise on how to approach and discuss with traditional chiefs. We went to villages without interventions Ebola: an anthropological voice from the field and tried to ‘open up the village’, gain their trust and give them information in order to facilitate the future work of the Red Cross and MSF contact tracers. Based on the population’s concerns, we also tried to indicate where the health workers’ response could be improved to accommodate cultural preferences. For instance, I helped the health agencies in understanding how to organize the cemeteries in a way that is acceptable to all religions and ethnicities. It is all very sensitive. While the statistics show that at least 500 extra places are needed to bury people, they are planning for only 200 because people get suspicious if we ask for more burial places at once. Altogether, I am quite satisfied with the way the health agencies have taken my anthropological observations into account. Who is? Séverine Thys, anthropologist and coordinator of the Strategic Network on Neglected Diseases and Zoonoses at the Institute of Tropical Medicine. Spent four weeks in Guinea to help contain the Ebola outbreak. Exchange to Change asked Séverine about her views on the Ebola epidemic, the challenges she encountered in the field, and why social scientists’ involvement is essential. issues and trying to make them understand. EtC: How should we understand the mistrust and rumours among the local community? How did this start? What is relevant in Guinea is that the outbreak started in the pre-election period, in a region that has been against the central government for a long time (Macenta, Guekedou). People started to think that Ebola was a plot to eliminate the opposition and that the disease didn’t even exist. Other rumours relate to white people wanting to kill Africans in exchange for money they are giving to the president (aid from France, USA). T